Monday, May 12, 2014

An Honest Prayer

Today I stepped into the field, maybe a little deflated.
I've seen some things in missions lately that have left my hope a little weathered for the wear.

There was alot of work ahead. Half of the crop is finished. It was time to swing the hoe and the pick-axe again and begin the work of bringing in a new rotation of peppers. Before me lay alot of hardened dirt. I could see Jean Wilbert's hoe was standing in the corner of the field, but he was nowhere in sight. There wasn't a Haitian anywhere in sight.
"I guess the novelty has worn off." I thought. "Not so interesting to see the White working these days. That's ok."
I took a swing with the hoe, then another, then one more. And then there came a little conviction mixed in with the dirt.
I stopped and removed my hat from my head,
"Sorry Lord. I wasn't working this ground like I'm working for you...I'm not looking forward to the labor...please bless this work, please bless this ground and bring more souls for Your glory. Thank you."

I took a swing, and then another, thinking that when this crop comes ready for harvest I won't even be here. I won't even see the fruits of labor...
"I crack the ground...Jean Wilbert plants the seed." I thought.
The earth was a little harder than I realized, so I walked back to the house for the pick-axe.

When I returned I found Jean Wilbert in the field with a new young man named Henry.
Henry likes to sing. Sometimes he sings as loud as he possibly can and you can hear him long before you see him. Sometimes you're also not in the mood for someone who thinks they're the next Bieber, and sometimes as he's singing he's actually mocking you, except he thinks that because he's doing it in song, nobody's figured it out...
"Hello Henry." We shook hands.

The man had passed by the garden and Jean Wilbert had felt led to ask him into the field for a God-ordained purpose.
As we cracked the earth I listened to him ministering to this man, giving him Scripture from Romans 15:1-6, encouragement from the Word, and the assurance of truth and hope.
"I saw you walking by." He said. "I don't know why, you are not fit for this kind of work (Henry is a bit of a feeble young man), but I knew I was supposed to ask you to come and work. I don't have any money to give you. But God has something to give you." He said. "When you walk with Him, He walks with you, He fights for you. He loves you. You hear what I'm saying? I needed to tell you that."

Here was my neighbor, big, strong, tough farmer, now quoting this passage to his neighbor, "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up."

God's grace shatters every kind of man. He turns us inside out and upside down, and all for His glory.

I talked with Henry about the hearts of men, how we are sometimes just like this dirt. Some of us are harder, and we have to be broken up before we can receive the seed. Anyone that knows me knows I thoroughly enjoy a good garden analogy. I think God does too. I'm pretty sure that's why it all started in Eden.
It wasn't long after that and Henry finished and left the field, his head full of thoughts.

I told Jean Wilbert when he has a chance there's another verse God brought to my mind,
"What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." (1 Cor 3:5-6)
"Today I cracked the ground, you planted the seed, and God will give the growth."
"Yes!" He said.

We spent the rest of the morning working together, him trying to help me perfect my hoe-swinging to match the effectiveness and skill of a Haitian farmer, and me trying not to let on that my back is killing me. I'm going to miss these moments with my friend.

Lately I'm not sure of the effectiveness of cross-culture missions, the inner-workings, behind-the-scenes of missions, or what we even consider missions these days. But I am sure of one thing, God is still working. He's still listening. He's still answering even the most honest of prayers because He is still on the throne.

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